BOSTON (CBS) – Valentine’s Day is next Monday the 14th!

[Audio|titles=KISS Principle|artists=Dee Lee]

Just thought I would remind you in case you’ve been in a cave for the last 6 weeks. The Valentine candy, cards and decorations have been in the stores since the day after Christmas. There are ads everywhere, TV, radio and the Internet many of them wanting you to splurge on diamonds!

There are many folks who hate this holiday. At times, it does become a bit much sending every kid in the first grade a valentine.

Love is free but most Valentine gifts do cost money. Valentine’s Day should be a fun day celebrating love. And today it’s not just your one true love; it’s your kids, little sister, grandmother, your mom, dad, the dog, the cat, the next-door neighbor, and your best friend. I’m surprised the card industry hasn’t found a way to include your ex.

Like so many holidays, it has gotten very commercial. There are red hearts everywhere reminding us of the day. Over 36 million heart shaped boxes of candy will be given as gifts this and last year the flower industry grew over 190 million roses for the day.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer will spend $116 on Valentine’s Day, up from a $103 of last year. With 63 percent of consumers planning to celebrate the holiday, total 2011 Valentine’s Day spending is expected to be close to $16 billion ($15.7 billion).

Men spend more money on gifts than women by almost 2 to 1. Maybe they are just trying to make up for that flat screen TV they bought to watch the Super Bowl. Almost 5 million TVs were expected to be sold for the game.

The survey also found consumers will shell out $3.5 billion for jewelry this Valentine’s Day. They are expected to go out to eat and spend $3.4 billion. And buy those cutesy red shirts and pajamas and spend $1.6 billion. Additionally, celebrants will spend $1.1 billion on greeting cards, $1.7 billion on flowers and $1.5 billion on candy.

Chocolate and flowers are not a bad start but I thought that we could come up with some more creative ideas. Ideas that will fit your budget. So make a list of everyone that needs to be reminded how much they are loved. And how much do you want to spend or can afford to spend? It does not have to be expensive. You can do it really cheap and still let someone know they are loved!

How about a poem? Write a poem or a special letter to everyone on that list. Tell them why they are loved and why you need them in your life. None of this “roses are red, violets are blue” stuff, you want the real thing. Something from the heart.

One more thing: If you can’t create one of your own, copy one of the classics. How Do I Love Thee, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning always melts my heart! One year when my husband and I were both students I memorized the poem and recited it to him as my gift!

There are websites that have her complete works if you don’t have one of her books. Or try and click on love poems or use the Love Quotes Encyclopedia.

Tuck the poem in your valentine’s lunch bag, handbag, or brief case or coat pocket on Friday when they leave for work or school. Or tape it to the bathroom mirror so they find it Sunday morning. Put it on the dinner table that night. If the budget allows buy them a book of poetry but only if they are into poetry!

A bit of Valentine legend! Saint Valentine who is the patron saint of romance and love is not to blame for the commercialism. There are many legends about his man; the one I like is that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for young men because he thought single men made better soldiers. Valentine felt the decree too harsh and married many young lovers in secret. Claudius was not happy about being defied and ordered Valentine be put to death on February 14.


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